Zach McDonald setting the pace © Janet Hill

Zach McDonald setting the pace © Janet Hill

by Leroi Smith

Kristi Berg (CycleU) and Zach McDonald (Rapha Focus) took slightly different paths to the same end — victory in the first Seattle Cyclocross (SCX) race of the season. The series got off to a fast start at one of the area’s favorite venues, Evergreen High School in Burien, WA. Hard rains overnight and into the morning could not dampen the spirit of the ’cross community; the fields were large and racers were excited to kick off another great year. The early rains slowed to a mist and the skies grew nearly bright enough to require sunglasses. The course ranged from sticky to slick; a few of the grassy off-camber sections got slick, but mostly the rain created a firm, tacky course. This was particularly true on the old cintrex running track that served as the start.In years past, this was a dusty, surprisingly tough section at speed, but a little water tamed it enough to let the riders through, mostly without mishaps. At the end of the track, riders had to hop the curb and plunge through a dip and into a section of grassy switchbacks. After popping up and dropping down a berm, racers swung around to approach the signature feature of the course – a leg-busting run-up that ended with a diabolical false flat. Oxygen deprived riders then tackled a couple more switchbacks and then the long, fast drop back down the hill. A short, steep climb signaled the entry into a long section of alternating high speed sweepers with tight off-camber bends generally working the hillside around a soccer field and baseball diamond. A set of double barriers interrupted the middle of this section. After rolling past the timing truck, a second set of barriers on a hill after an off-camber bend ended the twists and turns, depositing racers back onto the track — at speed — for another go-round.

The Elite Women took the start at 1:30, just after the Singlespeed class. They wasted no time climbing into the very large group in front of them. Kristi Berg (Cycle U) showed she was no stranger to working through traffic and Jadine Riley (Team Group Health) also sliced through the traffic early. Unfortunately an injury forced Riley to retire mid-race. Jo Markham (Olympia Orthopedic Associates) took up the reigns as lead chaser with Jodi Connolly (Blue Rooster) in third place. In the end (and middle and beginning) Berg was just too strong for her competition, riding away with the victory.

The Elite Men’s race took more time to sort out. Early on, Zach McDonald (Rapha Focus) and Logan Owen (Redline Bicycles) slipped off the front. Neither seemed to be fully putting the hammer down and eventually Aaron Bradford ( and Solomon Woras (Methow Cycle and Sport) bridged up. This group of four rode the middle of the race together. Approaching the last lap, McDonald seemed unwilling to leave it for a sprint. He attacked the group, breaking it apart. Owen and the rest were unable to stay with the surge and McDonald, the current collegiate national champion, soloed in for the victory. Owen held on for second and Bradford rounded out the podium.

The SCX series takes a break next week. October 10th marks the return to Beverly Park Elementary. SCX is sponsored by New Belgium Brewing, FSA, Redline Bicycles, Thule, Northwave and Bob’s Red Mill. Full results below!

Janet Hill’s Photo Gallery

Kenton Berg’s Photo Gallery

Elite Men’s Results:

Todays PlaceBibMen 1/2NameTimeTotal LapsAvg. Lap Time
1117Men 1/2McDonald ZackRapha Focos0:57:17.980:07:09.7
2107Men 1/2Owen LoganRedline0:57:29.880:07:11.2
3116Men 1/2Bradford AaronAaron Bradford0:57:41.880:07:12.7
4109Men 1/2Woras SolomonMethow cycle and sport0:57:54.280:07:14.3
5112Men 1/2Loren Hanson0:58:52.280:07:21.5
6101Men 1/2Flack John-ChristianOlympia Orthopaedic Associates0:59:04.680:07:23.1
7103Men 1/2Hulit CarlRecycled Cycles0:59:36.880:07:27.1
8111Men 1/2Fusaro MichaelCycling Northwest1:00:02.480:07:30.3
9106Men 1/2mickels aaronCycling Northwest1:00:13.380:07:31.7
10120Men 1/2Swanson TobyBro Tour1:00:31.580:07:33.9
11119Men 1/2Simpson CodyWoodinville Bicycle1:00:50.580:07:36.3
12114Men 1/2Hill ChrisCucina Fresca1:00:51.580:07:36.4
13115Men 1/2McGilvray KyleOTB State Farm1:01:18.780:07:39.8
14110Men 1/2Anderson JeffStanley1:02:45.680:07:50.7
15108Men 1/2Pease MichaelBicycle Centres/Collision One1:03:02.980:07:52.9
16100Men 1/2Erickson LandonTeam Stanley1:03:40.280:07:57.5
17118Men 1/2Bott RandyCucina Fresca1:03:54.580:07:59.3
18105Men 1/2Mensher IanKeller Rohrback Cycling Team1:05:55.380:08:14.4
19113Men 1/2Wilson AlexRecycled Cycles0:57:47.370:08:15.3
20102Men 1/2Hill Chris0:00:00.00DNF/DNS?
20104Men 1/2Iddings RyanRedline0:00:00.00DNF/DNS?

Elite Women’s Results:

Todays PlaceBibWomen1/2NameTeamTimeTotal LapsAvg. Lap Time
1300Women1/2Berg KristiCycle University0:48:22.760:08:03.8
2304Women1/2Markham JoOOA0:49:41.460:08:16.9
3301Women1/2Connolly JodiBlue Rooster / Sports Medicine Clinic0:50:27.460:08:24.6
4303Women1/2Kelsey KristenBuy Local Cycling0:51:32.560:08:35.4
5307Women1/2Smith LeeTeam Group Health0:43:05.950:08:37.2
6302Women1/2Era-Miller BrandeeOlympia Orthopaedic Associates0:43:28.350:08:41.7
7305Women1/2Mysliwiec AngelaOld Town Bicycle p/b State Farm0:43:57.340:10:59.3
8306Women1/2Riley Jadine0:00:00.00DNF/DNS?
8308Women1/2Love AnneCyclocrossracing.com0:00:00.00DNF/DNS?